DIAC has taken a major step towards a label-free immigration system, stating that visa labels are no longer required to evidence Australian visas.
A DIAC statement described the process of eliminating visa labels, stating “We started reducing the reliance on visa labels over 15 years ago, when we introduced the ‘label-free’ Electronic Travel Authority system for visitors. Now, millions of people every year travel to Australia without a visa label.”
The grant of a visa is made in DIAC’s computer systems, and the term “visa” refers to that grant. Visas have historically been evidenced in different ways, including labels, stamps, and more recently, grant letters. A person’s visa is linked to his or her passport, which makes it critical that when a person receives a new passport as a result of passport expiration, loss or damage to a passport, or for any other reason, that the new passport be reported to DIAC so it may be linked with a person’s visa.
In some cases countries require visa labels for transit or exit purposes, and DIAC has made available a service where for AUD$70 per label, a visa label can be provided for an existing visa. Certain exemptions will apply, according to DIAC.
As a result of the label-free approach DIAC is now taking, the free online service VEVO (Visa Entitlement Verification Online) has taken a central role as a way that visa holders, employers and others can see details of current visas. A visa holder must give permission for an employer or other party to access his or her information using VEVO.